People growing up in the internet age have access to a wider range of musical styles than ever before. As a result of that, at least in part, music scenes have become less tribal — artists and fans don’t cling on so doggedly to one style and are often comfortable to extol, say, Napalm Death and Billie Eilish in the same breath.
“Progressive rock” is a term that can encompass a wide variety of sounds. At one point or another in their 35-year history, Porcupine Tree — the brainchild of Steven Wilson — have probably touched upon most of these. Having put out several albums of electronica-infused psychedelic space rock since their formation in 1987, the band reached a peak of critical and commercial success in the 2000s with the metal-influenced experimental songcraft exemplified by In Absentia and Fear of a Blank Planet. By the start of 2011, however, Porcupine Tree appeared to be no more, with Wilson announcing a hiatus to focus on his solo career; he stated as recently as 2018 that getting the band back together “would seem like a terribly backward step”.
From ‘War Pigs’ to the present day, metal and politics have gone hand in hand and Sacred Reich has never shied away from the subject. As far back as their Draining You of Life demo in 1986, the Arizona thrashers made it abundantly clear that fascism is bullshit, Nazis are the enemy, and that oppression in any form should not be tolerated. This steadfast opposition to dictatorship, corruption, and social injustice has served them well for over thirty years, but recently the band has found themselves in the unbelievable position of actually having to defend those views. Swamping their social media pages with insults and demands to “stop making everything political”, some of their so-called “fans” really seem to have missed the entire fucking point of Sacred Reich.
Back to save America from the pandemic and itself, grindcore faction Alpha-o-MAGA is here with their timely new album Keep America Grinding! In a just world, this album would be played on election day, from all the polling places and all political rallies in the future. You can purchase and stream the album at the link below!
Idles have come on in leaps and bounds since their last album Joy As An Act of Resistance (Partisan Records). It’s not even been 5 years since they were playing 100 capacity venues, yet here they are today having sold out giant venues like Alexandra Palace in under a day. With two giant albums under their belt, the big question was how the Bristol band were going to not only top it, but maintain the astronomical growth they’ve been on for the past 3 years.
Punk music continues to be the most outspoken genre of heavy music in terms of political/social issues. This is no different from the hardcore punk/grindcore outfit known simply as Dropdead. Formed back at the beginning of 1991 and has released many recordings over the years, this is only the third studio album, however, it has come about in perfect timing. Simply titled Dropdead 2020 (Armageddon), is a twenty-four-minute sonic attack on all things evil such as the ever-growing right-wing extremists, animal abuse, and overall human stupidity.
Napalm Death choosing to drop Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (Century Media) is the definition of perfect timing. For those not keeping score at home, the current leader of the free world is an ass-clown who smears his face daily with greasy self-tanner and fancies white supremacists and McDonald’s food. Oh, and there’s a bit of a global pandemic that has paused the world and crippled economies.
With bands taking so much time between studio albums these days, it’s astonishing to believe that in the space of just three years, between 1970 and 1973, Brummie icons Black Sabbath released no less than five of the most important records in the annals of heavy metal.
It appears that Protest the Hero have got some thoughts on today’s, let us say shit, political climate. When your opening track is called ‘The Migrant Mother’ it’s a bit of a tell that Palimpsest (Spinefarm Records) has some issues it wants to address. I mean, regardless of subject matter I’d still be all for Palimpsest. Come on, it’s Protest the Hero, I could listen to songs about cooking bacon as long as it’s a new album.
Judging by its title, the latest release by US thrashers Havok is either a bold, singular statement about this being their fifth full-length studio release, or, rather less plausibly, that it’s actually a concept album based on the 1980s sci-fi series about alien lizard people who wear big red jumpsuits. Sadly, it is, in fact, the rather more mundane first option, but that doesn’t stop V (Century Media) from being bigger and almost as frightening than the hairstyles on that show.Continue reading